Three key aspects stand out among the lessons business and IT leaders have learned during the ongoing disruption and uncertainty — the push toward human-centricity, the race to resilience and the ability to reach beyond expectations, according to Gartner Inc.
“The lesson of the pandemic has been to expect the unexpected and be prepared to move in multiple strategic directions at once,” says Daryl Plummer, distinguished research vice-president of the technology research and consulting group. “Leaders that embrace options for workers, enhanced enterprise efficiency and accelerated transformation plans have greater resilience in dealing with change.”
In that spirit, Gartner has outlined 11 predictions for this year and beyond about how technology will continue to throw up new challenges for consumers and businesses alike:
– By 2024, 40% of consumers will trick behaviour-tracking metrics to intentionally devalue the personal data collected about them, making it difficult to monetise.
Consumers are increasingly aware of the value that companies glean from their personal data, and the power of that data when wielded through recommendation algorithms to manipulate behaviour. In response, some are attempting to undermine such tracking methods, such as by sharing false details or clicking on ads they aren’t interested in, among other tactics.
“By manipulating algorithms and spoiling databases, consumers are defying the adage that insists ‘if you’re not a customer, you’re the product,'” said Mr Plummer.
– By 2024, 30% of corporate teams will be without a boss due to the self-directed and hybrid nature of work.
The pandemic embedded agility inside business operations and streamlined business processes to essential value. This included a shift from central decision-making to peer-to-peer network-based decision-making that reduces bottlenecks and saves time in a hybrid working environment. As hybrid work continues, removing the traditional manager role can be a more pragmatic route to efficiency.
– By 2025, synthetic data will reduce personal customer data collection, avoiding 70% of privacy violation sanctions.
Data generated using artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, known as synthetic data, is gaining momentum. Synthetic data can serve as a proxy for real data, resulting in reduced collection, use or sharing of sensitive information. This is significant as maturing and regionally different privacy regulations put pressure on organisations to reduce the risk of privacy violations and ensure resiliency.
– By 2024, a cyber-attack will so damage critical infrastructure that a member of the G20 will reciprocate with a declared physical attack.
Cyber-attacks have historically been treated by nations as crime, not warfare. However, as the losses produced by recent large-scale attacks aimed at critical infrastructure have reached unprecedented levels, some governments are moving to prepare for cyberwar via dedicated cyberdefence units.
In the near term, businesses will continue to bear the primary responsibility to defend against cyber-attacks. However, they have never been charged with serving as the first line of defence against warfare, so increasingly severe attacks will prompt military involvement, eventually deterring non-state actors from targeting critical infrastructure.
– By 2024, 80% of chief information officers (CIOs) surveyed will list modular business redesign, through “composability”, as a top 5 reason for accelerated business performance.
“Market turbulence predates and will survive Covid-19,” said Mr Plummer. “Trying to return to stability will not allow the organisation to thrive in the ‘renewal’ phase beyond the current disruption.”
Progressive CIOs see volatility as an opportunity. Business composability — the modular redesign of operational assets to minimise interdependencies — enables work to be recomposed quickly, easily and safely.
– By 2025, 75% of companies will “break up” with poor-fit customers as the cost of retaining them eclipses good-fit customer acquisition costs.
Organisations often expunge poor-fit customers from sales pipelines, but few proactively identify and say goodbye to them after they’ve purchased a product or service. Yet, keeping a poor-fit customer can be costly, both in terms of time spent satisfying them as well as the opportunity costs, brand degradation and long-term profit erosion that can occur.
– Through 2026, a 30% increase in developer talent across Africa will help transform the continent into a world-leading startup ecosystem, rivalling Asia in venture fund growth.
An influx of venture capital flowing into Africa has led several nations in the region to develop innovation hubs that they hope will amplify partnerships between large companies and startups, drawing talent and foreign investment.
For example, Kenya’s thriving tech scene has been dubbed the “Silicon Savannah” in East Africa, with a $1-billion tech ecosystem that offers an attractive space for entrepreneurs, investors and technologists. As this market continues to grow, global investors will reduce their venture investment in China in favour of Africa.
– By 2026, non-fungible token (NFT) gamification will propel an enterprise into the top 10 highest valued companies.
NFTs are becoming a way to use hyper-tokenisation to grow business models exponentially. The value proposition for NFTs is underpinned by the expectation that buyers are willing to pay more for a digital artifact because they belong to a network of people with similar values and interests.
– By 2024, Gartner predicts that 50% of publicly listed companies will have some sort of NFT underpinning their brand and/or digital ecosystem presence. NFTs will become a powerful marketing tool to accelerate enterprise valuations.
– By 2027, low-orbit satellites will extend internet coverage to an additional one billion of the world’s poorest people, raising 50% of them out of poverty.
Using satellites significantly reduces the installation and operational costs of deploying cellular base stations. Satellites are also able to provide islands of connectivity based on where customers are located.
– By 2027, a quarter of the Fortune 200 companies will be supplanted by companies that “neuromine” and influence subconscious behaviour at scale.
“Most executives already appreciate that every company is a technology company,” said Mr Plummer. “The winners of the next decade will be experts at neuromining — applying behavioural intelligence and related technology to analyse, understand and influence human behaviour at scale.”